Our Eight Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s eight year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In the past eight years, our catalogue has grown to 136 titles in two languages. What is more, I also passed the 4000 lifetime sales mark in April, though I missed it and therefore didn’t do a metrics post.

What is more, I’m currently trying for a repeat of the July short story challenge, where the idea is to write a short story per day in July (for a summary of the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 challenges, see here). I’ll probably also put up a running tally of stories written over at my personal blog. I’m not sure if I will manage to do it for the whole month, but so far I’ve written three stories in as many days. And since writing a short story every day takes time, this post will be a bit more basic than usual:

So let’s take a look at the figures and percentages. The figures of previous years may be found here BTW.

Warning, lots of statistical neepery under the cut.

Let’s start with the retailer breakdown:

Amazon DE: 32%
Amazon.com: 23%
Amazon UK: 7.4%
Kobo: 5.7%
Bibliotheca: 4,75%
Apple: 4.45%
Barnes & Noble: 3.8%
Scribd: 3.5%
Smashwords: 2.62%
DriveThru Fiction: 2.6%
Tolino (store not specified): 1.98%
Amazon AU: 1.4%
Amazon BR: 1.1%
Libreka: 0.93%
OmniLit/All Romance: 0.88%
Amazon CA: 0.68%
Overdrive: 0.4%
Kobo Plus: 0.32%
XinXii: 0.27%
Casa del Libro: 0.22%
Weltbild: 0.22%
Amazon IT: 0.22%
Amazon FR: 0.2%
Google Play: 0.17%
Thalia: 0.15%
Baker Taylor: 0.15%
Amazon IN: 0.1%
Libiro: 0.1%
Bookmate: 0.1%
Amazon ES: 0.07%
Oyster: 0.07%
Inktera/Page Foundry: 0.07%
Feedbooks: 0.07%
24symbols: 0.07%
Book Republic: 0.05%
Der Club: 0.025%
Hugendubel: 0.025%
Osiandersche: 0.025%
Buecher.de: 0.025%
Playster: 0.025%

As you can see, the percentages have remained relatively stable, since I last did this. The percentages of defunct stores and services like OmniLit/AllRomance, Libiro or Oyster are declining, but everything else is relatively stable. Amazon Germany is still in the lead, followed by Amazon.com, Amazon UK and Kobo. Apple and B&N are holding steady, while Scribd has declined somewhat. Of the lesser Amazons, only Amazon Australia and Amazon Brazil make the 1% threshold. Meanwhile, Google Play has tripled its percentage, but is still way under 1%.

However, there is one notable change from last year: The library service Bibliotheca has shot up the charts from nothing last year to fifth rank, below Amazon DE, COM and UK as well as Kobo, but ahead of Apple and Barnes & Noble. Now the many sales via Bibliotheca don’t do much, because they pay very little. And the number of Bibliotheca sales has declined, because someone discovered that – oh shock and horror – there were erotica books available. And because Bibliotheca and distributor Draft2Digital couldn’t figure out what to do, they removed all indie books from part of Bibliotheca’s services. And yes, by now I’m pretty pissed off that I keep getting penalised, whenever someone has a freak out over erotica, when I don’t even write in the genre.

Of the other library and subscription services, only Scribd does anything for me. And my sales there are dependent on whatever their business model is this month. Everything else (Overdrive, Kobo Plus, Oyster, 24 Symbols, Playster, Baker Taylor Blio, Feedbooks) remains under 1%, though Overdrive and Kobo Plus are actually growing for me.

Of the smaller retailers, DriveThruFiction and Smashwords (which is currently having its annual summer sale, where you can get plenty of my books at a reduced price) continue to do pretty well for me. OmniLit/AllRomance fell below the 1% threshold, but then they closed down in December 2016. Meanwhile, XinXii is still in business, but their marketshare is steadily dropping as well.

Tolino’s marketshare has dropped to under 2%, but if you take all Tolino stores together, their marketshare goes up to 2.45%. Meanwile, Libreka, a German wholesaler, continues ton hover at just under 1%. In fact, it is notable that the marketshare of German stores, including Amazon DE, has declined. But then, I haven’t had a German language release for a while now.

And now let’s take a look at the individual books and their sales:

  1. Der Lohn des Henkers
  2. Heiligabend im Café zum Lila Kakadu
  3. Seraglio
  4. Christmas Eve at the Purple Owl Café
  5. Under the Knout
  6. Unter der Knute
  7. Der Kuss des Richtschwerts
  8. The Cork and the Bottle
  9. After the End – Stories of Life After the Apocalypse
  10. The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade
  11. Outlaw Love
  12. Honeypot
  13. Hostage to Passion
  14. Mercy Mission
  15. The Hybrids, Four Minute Warning and Gesetzlose Liebe (tie)
  16. A Bullet for Father Christmas
  17. Overdose
  18. Murder in the Family and Unter dem Galgen (tie)
  19. Hangman’s Wages
  20. Hanging Day
  21. The Spiked Death
  22. Rites of Passage
  23. Christmas Gifts and Kitchen Witch
  24. Dreaming of the Stars, The Iron Border and The Butcher of Spain (tie)
  25. Egg Hunt and Open Season (tie)
  26. Countdown to Death, Flying Bombs and Southern Monsters (tie)
  27. Seedlings
  28. Bank Job
  29. Bloody Bananas
  30. Honigtopf
  31. Spiked Tea and Paris Green (tie)
  32. Evacuation Order, Debts to Pay, Dead Drop, Bug-Eyed Monsters and the Women Who Love Them and Familienkutsche (tie)
  33. Conspirators, Partners in Crime, The Other Side of the Curtain, The Tinsel-Free Christmas Tree and Last Minute Geschenke (tie)
  34. Mean Streets and Dead Alley, Operation Rubber Ducky, Parlour Game and Tea and Treachery (tie)
  35. Christmas Shopping with a Broken Heart
  36. History Lesson, A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs and The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock (tie)
  37. Baptism of Fire, Acacia Crescent, The Great Fraud, Letters from the Dark Side, Heartache and Pissed (tie)
  38. Flights of Madness, Mightier than the Sword, Kiss of Ice and Old Mommark’s Tale (tie)
  39. He has come back to me…, The Hidden Castle, The Apocalypse Protocol and Kurierdienst (tie)
  40. Bullet Holes, Courting Trouble, Graveyard Shift, Blasters of Forever, The Valley of the Man Vultures, He never brings me flowers, New York City’s Finest and Whaler (tie)
  41. Dead World and Fact or Fiction (tie)
  42. Freedom’s Horizon, Elevator of Doom, St. Nicholas of Hell’s Kitchen, Children of the Stone Gods, Dream Job, Family Car, Flesh Trade, The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg, Love in the Times of the Macrobiotic Müsli, Seeing Red and Auf der anderen Seite des Vorhangs (tie)
  43. Double-Cross, The Tomb of the Undead Slaves, The Forest of the Hanged, The Milk Truck Gang, Boardwalk Baby, Demolition, Insomnia and Die Liebe in den Zeiten des Frischkornmüslis (tie)
  44. Loot, Courier Duty, The Death of the American Dream, Thirty Years to Life and Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime (tie)
  45. The Bleak Heath, Lovers’ Lane, The Crawling Death, Liquid Muse, Payback Time, Reiche Beute and Weihnachtsshopping mit gebrochenem Herzen (tie)
  46. Hunter and Hunted, Cartoony Justice, The Road of Skeletons, Albrecht the Nightmare, Christmas on Iago Prime, A History of the New Ice Age, Muse and Crisis, The Shantytown Robin Hoods and Our Lady of the Burning Heart (tie)
  47. The Cave of the Dragon, A Valentine for the Silencer, Double Feature, The Cursed Arm of Driftwood Beach, The Dark Lily and The Three-Quarters Eaten Dessert (tie)
  48. Collision Course and The Faulty Television Receiver (tie)
  49. The Bakery on Gloomland Street and The Mermaid of Foghorn Point (tie)
  50. The Taste of Home and The Standarounds of Twilight Gardens (tie)

Once again, the lifetime sales rankings remain relatively stable compared to last year. Der Lohn des Henkers is still on top, followed by Heiligabend im Café zum Lila Kakadu and Seraglio. In general, most of the top ranks still go to stories which have been out for years and had plenty of times to accumulate sales.

Though The Cork and the Bottle and After the End have both risen in rank and have now passed such longterm sellers as The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade and Outlaw Love, which was one of the first three titles I published eight years ago. In general, it is notable that the Helen Shepherd Mysteries are steady sellers and that all books in the series have gained in rank. Even Parlour Game, the one book in the series that never sold, is now selling and has surpassed Mightier than the Sword, the other Helen Shepherd Mystery that never sold all that well.

Of my other series, the Shattered Empire series continues to sell decently, even though it hasn’t had a new release in a while now. I’ll get back to it, eventually. My other space opera series In Love and War still doesn’t do very well, even though it’s a personal favourite. There will be another novel in the series out soon, hopefully before WorldCon. The brand new Thurvok series is also doing pretty well, considering the books have only been out for a couple of months. But then, there apparently is an audience for traditional sword and sorcery. Meanwhile, The Silencer, The Day the Saucers Came…, Two-Fisted Todd and Alfred and Bertha’s Marvelous Twenty-First Century Life have never sold very well, since they’re all somewhat offbeat. Though The Silencer is doing okay, considering the audience for 1930s style pulp adventure isn’t very big. And in spite of new covers and new stories, the Hallowind Cove just doesn’t sell. Either there is no audience for humorous fantasy stories set in quirky seaside towns or I simply haven’t figured out how to find it.

The red lantern for the lowest selling title has shifted again, this time to The Taste of Home and The Standarounds of Twilight Gardens respectively. Both have only been out for a couple of months, but the lack of sales is still troubling. The Standarounds of Twilight Gardens is a story in the Hallowind Cove series, which doesn’t sell in general, and makes fun of the common horror movie trope of people freaking out, because there are other people standing around outside in a sinister way. The Taste of Home, meanwhile, is an In Love and War story. It’s a quiet story of family, memories and food, but then there is room for quieter stories in space opera. Both stories are only 99 cents, BTW, so why don’t you give them a try?

However, one thing I have noticed is that even the stories that never sell do sell on occasion. It may only be a handful of copies per year, but they do sell. And indeed, when I compiled the data, I noticed that stories which had sold 50 copies last year suddenly sold 100, that stories which had sold 20 copies last year suddenly sold 50, that stories which had sold 10 copies last year suddenly sold 20 and that stories which had sold 5 copies suddenly sold 10. My indie publishing career may not be as flashy and those of other people, but sales are slowly, but steadily climbing year after year, even without AMS ads, Facebook ads, Bookbub and whatever other “must-have” marketing options there are.

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